MI senator, Carl Levin, responds to nat'l reciprocity
Thank you for contacting me about state reciprocity for carrying concealed firearms. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.
On February 18, 2011, Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R.822). This bill would require all states that issue concealed carry permits to accept as valid concealed carry permits issued by all other states. In effect, this bill would bar any state from applying its own eligibility standards for concealed carry permits to out-of-state visitors. On November 16, 2011, the House of Representatives passed H.R.822. Two related bills (S.2188 and S.2213) have been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Under current federal law, the adoption and enforcement of eligibility standards for concealed carry permits is left to the states. Some states have rigorous standards. For example, a number of states will not issue concealed carry permits to alcohol abusers, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes or those who have not completed a training course to show they know how to use a gun. Other states have minimal or no concealed carry standards beyond the baseline federal laws governing which individuals are prohibited from possessing a gun, such as felons. Under H.R.822, a state’s concealed carry eligibility laws would still apply to residents, but they would no longer apply to out-of-state visitors, even alcohol abusers or those with criminal misdemeanor convictions.
In 2009, Senator John Thune (R-SD) offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 that, if agreed to, would have had the same effect as H.R.822. I voted against the Thune amendment because it, like H.R.822, would have required nearly every state to allow visitors to carry concealed, loaded weapons within their borders, even if state law would not allow it. The Thune amendment was withdrawn after it failed to reach the 60-vote threshold established under a unanimous consent agreement.
Congress should not require that one state’s laws trump another’s, and out-of-state visitors should not be treated differently than state residents. Thank you again for contacting me.